The Scriptures of the amaNazaretha of EkuphaKameni
Edited by Irving Hexham
The University of Calgary Press, 1993
© Copyright Irving Hexham 1993
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The amaNazarites of Isaiah Shembe are the oldest African Independent/Indigenous Church in South Africa. The church divided into two main sections in 1976 following the death of its leader Johannes Galilee Shembe [1904-1976]. The largest group was led by Amos Shembe [1907-1996], the other, smaller group, by Londa Shembe [1944-1989]. The following texts were produced with the encouragement of Londa Shembe. By reproducing them we remain neutral with regard to the division in the church. Our only concern is to publicize the work of the founder the "prophet" Isaiah Shembe.
SOME SAYINGS OF ISAIAH SHEMBE translated from the Zulu by the Rt. Rev. Londa Shembe
SHEMBE'S ADVICE: EKUPHAKAMENI, MARCH 7, 1932
Blessed is he who is merciful; for he too will receive mercy on the day that sorrow befalls him: for sorrow is not of one person but all who are under the shade of the sun. Although you may be free from sorrow today, yet you too will be caught tomorrow like those who were caught yesterday.
Blessed is he who does not walk along the path of the evil, who desires that they may be liberated; for he too will be caught tomorrow. And he will feel this pain that these others have felt today.
Blessed is he who binds the wounds of those who have been injured, for injuries do not happen to one alone under the sun but to all men. Although you may be in good health today yet tomorrow you will suffer injury.
Blessed is the one who wipes the tears off the eyes of the sorrowfully; because sadness does not come to one person only under the sun. If today you are not sad, even as others are, tomorrow you will suffer sadness and you will want those who will wipe off your tears.
Blessed is that one who does not scrutinize the sins of others.
Blessed is that one who does not place his ear among those who gossip because to go about listening to gossip is the root of all sin. For how can you love your neighbour when you have a guilty knowledge concerning his evil? And how can you believe your brother when you accept the gossip of those who backbite him.
Blessed is the one who walks along the road and does not sharpen his heart to listen about the evil of others until he stores it in his heart. And that one becomes the warehouse of the sins of the people. His heart will never please Jehovah because his heart is among the thorns, the sins of other people that he goes about collecting with his ear. And thus does he plant them in his heart whereas they are not his sins. Jehovah will never dwell in a place that is precarious as that place.
Blessed is the one who desires to forgive, rather than he who condemns. The foodstuff that gives life to the people is gathered into the grain-bowl, then it is poured into the grain storage house; and this is to the life of the children of the householder.
My meaning is this: that the person is blessed who gathers sinners away from their evil ways and returns them to the path of righteousness with a heart full of kindness.
It is good when a man is full of wounds in his feet, going about with his feet being wounded by the stones, and being pierced by thorns, seeking to those who have gone astray from the paths of righteousness and strayed into evil. NKulunKulu is greatly pleased indeed by such a man.
The fame of a medicine man who is a healer does not lie with those who are in good health, it lies with the sick ones whom he has healed by his art. He shall be thanked by the relatives of that one who has been sick.
Thus it is to the man who gathers sinners and embraces them in his arms, as though he too was a sinner even as they are. When the sinners have been healed from their sins that man will be thanked by NKulunKulu; and he will be rewarded with the eternal garland.
Even as the medicine man who heals will be rewarded by the people related to the sick person with a pure heart, because he has healed their relative: you also must be merciful and you will be shown mercy on the morrow.
That one is of an evil fortune who spreads the sins of others along the crossways (Psalms 50:21).
The one who has committed a sin does not rest, night and day he moans to Thixo, saying, "Father I have sinned: save me" (Psalms 51:4).
And do you think that while Thixo accepts the weeping of the sinner who is sorrowful, you ought to be accusing him? (Psalms 34:18).
You ought to be afraid to scrutinize the sins of others; rather you should scrutinize your own sins so that you will be saved. You should not treacherously accuse the brethren and the sisters who have sinned. For day and night they are in tears because of the sin which they have committed before the NKosi.
Thixo is merciful. He loves to have mercy on man. He loves to know that it is not only the evil who sin. The righteous also sin (Psalms 34:17-19).
Collect your mouth that it should not be wide at those who sin; you should not shout excessively the sins of others (Psalms 34:13).
If you hate the evil ones Thixo will also hate you. For at that place where NKulunKulu dwells that is the place where sinners dwell (Matthew 9:10-11, Mark 2:15-16).
Blessed is the one who has faith that perseveres; who does not forsake his faith because of the evil-doers. Who does not follow after the habits of the evil-doers.
My meaning is this: so that you will listen most carefully to this word: if an evil-doer comes to you meet him in anger; do you not know what Paul said in the Letter to the Romans 2:8?
He says that those who do not listen, persisting in being self-willed, Thixo will give them to the passion of anger. This will be a sign.
When NKulunKulu has left a man, that man shows it by being full of anger, and gossip and he is easily annoyed. Job also spoke about this (Job 24:13).
You ought not to forsake your faith for their sake: if he is angry and you also meet him with anger, who shall be said to be righteous between the two of you? Will it not be said that you are both mad men? By behaving in this way you deny NKulunKulu in the company of those who deny him.
It is better to listen to advice than to despise advice, whereas on the morrow you will seek this advice and yet it will be far from your heart (Proverbs 5:12).
I say: I advise you today whoever you are: examine this writing; do not harbor evil in your heart against your neighbour. Your neighbour is your flesh and you should love him (Galatians 5:14) in the same way that you love yourself; whether he is male or she is female.
Do not meditate evil concerning him, at night and in daytime. NKulunKulu will increase relatives of love for you, if you love your neighbour. And yet if you hate your neighbours NKulunKulu will also increase your haters.
Reserve the love of your heart for your brother. For it you say that you love NKulunKulu and yet you hate your neighbour you make evil accusations against yourself. How can you love NKulunKulu when you have not seen him and yet you hate the person whom you see? (John 4:20).
And again you should not on hearing a matter quickly go and make enquiries concerning it. You must suppress your heart even if the matter has come to you in a painful way until you have had it confirmed by two or three witnesses. To enquire about a matter while you are still angry is not good. Anger derails a man from the law.